I’m not going to graduate…school

Graduate school may be the right choice for some, but not this girl.

Hanna Bubser, Senior Columnist

This year, I feel as though all I’ve talked about is that I’m graduating in May. Every single conversation seems to be laced with it, whether I’m with my bosses, advisors or peers. Senior year is about many things, but one of those is wrapping up loose ends. Basically, this school year has acted as an extended period of time wherein I can get ready to leave Hamline and move on to what is next – whatever that may be.

That’s the big question: what will that be? What will I do after graduation? This is something I think about every day. Admittedly, even though I think about it, I don’t really think about it. What I mean by that is I realize graduation is going to happen and I will need to figure my life out (at least for the near future), but acting on it doesn’t seem too appealing. I thought that my senior slide in high school was bad, but I had no idea what was coming. The college senior slide hits hard.

Just because I feel unmotivated about my future, it doesn’t mean I’m disregarding it. In turn, this also means that other people are not disregarding it. Someone somewhere is always asking me what I plan to do after school. Obviously, this is something that every college student faces at one point or another, but when it is just a few months away the question starts to make me feel uncomfortable.

I can recognize what I want to be doing, but is that realistic? Is anything realistic? Will I even get a job? These types of questions start piling up until I simply can’t take it anymore, and I push it to the back of my mind. I have the predetermined answers that I give people when they ask, and usually, this satisfies them enough to move on.

Every so often, people ask me whether I’m considering graduate school. Graduate school is a natural transition for some students, but I have rarely given it a second thought. I already have debt coming my way, and I already have little direction as to what I’m going to do with my life. Would more school really help that? Maybe, but it’s not a guarantee

When I talk to individuals who are planning on going to graduate school, I get a mixed bag of reasons why. “I enjoy being a student,” one friend told me. “I don’t think I’m ready to not be a student, and I want to study more.” Another person I know in the Public Health department said it just felt like the natural next step, “I’ll have a Public Health degree when I graduate undergrad, but I’m worried I can’t get a good job without a masters.”

Not having the credentials to get a quality job is a fair fear to have. Today’s employers basically expect recent graduates to have years of experience, which may be easier for some students to get than others. But using that as a reason to go to graduate school? I’m not sold. I already have to spend a ton of money to get a degree to get a job. Spending more seems to go a little too far.

In addition to the cost, I don’t even know what I would go to graduate school for. I recognize that some people know exactly what they’d study, but that has never been the case for me. Yes, there are career fields that I am interested in being a part of, but committing to one field of expertise right out of undergrad? There’s no way I could do that. That sounds like too many decisions, too fast. Also, graduate school is always something that I could go to later down the road, so why rush it?

I see just as much value in getting a job after college and collecting experience from it that I can use in the future. Maybe the job I get right after I graduate is not where I will stay long term, and I am totally okay with that. My sister is not quite out of her twenties yet and she has changed workplaces three times already. She doesn’t see shame in this, and neither do I because it led her to a great job that she currently loves. Who is to say that can’t be the same for me? So, as people continue to ask me about my future, I may not know exactly what I’m doing but I know it won’t be graduate school – not any time soon, that is. For me, that’s enough information worth knowing for the time being.